CAZENOVIA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — As the Cazenovia College class of 2023 marched down the quad, the precession marked the end of one chapter, and the beginning of another.

Keynote speaker, John Robert Greene said, “I am not here today to deliver a eulogy of our school.”

Also known as “the national face of Cazenovia College,” Greene retired from the college this past January after serving as the Paul J. Schupf Professor of History and Humanities at the school.

For alumni, he represents a fixture of their time at the College as a supportive but challenging professor, according to Cazenovia College.

He began as a part-time instructor there in September of 1979, and concluded his 42nd year there in January of 2022.

“This moment today does not call for a eulogy. A Commencement is a beginning. Not an ending. I am here for one reason and one reason only to speak to and about the class of 2023,” Greene continued.

The 198th commencement ceremony will be the last, as Cazenovia College announced it’s permanently closing after this academic year, due to ongoing financial hardships.

But the class of 2023 was not only recognized for their academic achievements, these 210 Wildcats were celebrated for their strength and resiliency.

“I mean, along with the resilience, it’s just courage because we went from one kind of world to another in a matter of months. We went from lockdowns, masks, not allowed to be in each other’s room or talk to each other to now everything is pretty much open and we’re allowed to do what we want, and it’s an incredible world that we’re going into now cause now we get to actually experience the things we missed in the beginning,” said class of 2023’s Valedictorian, Sarah Cole.

Cazenovia College’s President, David Bergh adds, “As our final class, they are taking the legacy forward. They’re going to become the living embodiment of Cazenovia as they go forward, and they’re ready to get out in the world and do some great things.”

Cazenovia College is partnering with more than 30 universities to help current students and faculty with their transition. Their official closing date is scheduled for June 30 of this year.